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Transatlantic Cooperation: Can Innovative Technologies Strengthen Climate Protection?

Remarks by
Ambassador Victoria Reggie Kennedy
Transatlantic Cooperation: Can Innovative Technologies Strengthen Climate Protection?
November 8, 2022

Thank you, Michael! Thank you for your leadership of AmCham and for organizing this important and timely event. I’m honored to kick things off.

Minister Gewessler, Ambassador Selmayr, Panelists, Ladies and Gentlemen,

There is broad consensus that global warming presents an existential threat to humanity, and that this is the decisive decade for the world to confront climate change and avoid the worst, irreversible impacts of this crisis.

It is important that we are having conversations on a multilateral level like the COP 27, taking place this week in Egypt, but it is also vitally important that we meet here today on a smaller scale, to talk in more immediate terms about transatlantic cooperation and the important role technology plays in combating climate change.

As we all know, Austria is a global leader on climate ambition, with an impressive electricity mix powered by renewable resources and thousands of companies active in the sector, many on a global scale.

In addition to the many internal actions that Minister Gewessler and her government have taken here in Austria – including a major pledge today by President Van der Bellen of 226 MM euros toward international climate support, Austria has signed on to the Global Methane Pledge, a call to cut methane emissions by 30% by 2030. This has been a huge priority of both the United States and the European Union, coming out of COP 26 in Glasgow, and is considered by many to be the strongest measure that can be taken to slow down climate change over the next 25 years. Our planet thanks you.

In addition to U.S. leadership, along with the EU, on the Global Methane Pledge, I’m delighted to report that my country is moving forward on climate action at a historic pace. Two important new laws — the Inflation Reduction Act and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act — together contain unprecedented investments by the U.S. in climate-related programs.

These programs and incentives are set to bring 950 million solar panels, 120,000 wind turbines, and 2,300 grid-scale battery plants online, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 1 gigaton by 2030.

These are important and necessary government programs, and they reflect both U.S. and European priorities. But as everyone in this room recognizes, meaningful climate change cannot happen by governmental action alone. We need the transformative involvement of the private sector, acting as an engine of innovation. And I’m pleased that we are

indeed seeing that kind of transformative innovation happening all around us. European and American companies are working overtime to create technologies and offer solutions to help our countries – to help our world — build a sustainable future.

And this is where the strength, the power, of the transatlantic relationship makes all the difference in the world. As partners and friends, we have a shared commitment to the rule of law and democratic values. We exchange ideas and best practices and work together to ensure access to best-in-class technologies and strong IP protections. And together, we create economies of scale that make the winning difference.

The overall economic impact of our transatlantic relationship is truly remarkable: In 2021 alone, U.S. and European entities invested nearly $7 trillion in each other’s economies, while Transatlantic business activity generated more than $6 trillion of annual commercial sales. To add to those benefits, transatlantic trade and investment is responsible for an estimated 26 million jobs on both sides of the Atlantic.

We have a supercharged Transatlantic economic engine. When you look at innovations in climate technology – green tech, clean tech – advances in power generation, farming, building, manufacturing – or progress in areas we don’t even have a name for yet – and you couple those things with the power of the transatlantic economic engine, well then, I daresay, anything and everything is possible.

We all know there is increasing demand for sustainable solutions. We also know that increasing demand gives rise to enormous opportunities for innovative climate technologies.

With stronger climate policies and a thriving private sector, we can, as trusted economic partners, work together to solve the climate crisis for the benefit of everyone. The challenges are great; but the opportunities are endless.

Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for allowing me to spend a few minutes with you this afternoon. I wish you a productive and stimulating conversation.